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pregnancy, period of time between fertilization of the ovum (conception) and birth, during which mammals carry their developing young in the uterus (see embryo). The average duration of pregnancy in humans is about 280 days, equal to 9 calendar months. After the fertilized ovum is implanted in the uterus, rapid changes occur in the reproductive organs of the mother. The uterus becomes larger and more flexible, enlargement of the breasts begins, and alteration of renal function, blood volume, and blood cell count occur. Movement of the fetus and fetal heartbeat can be detected early in pregnancy.

One test that has been used to determine pregnancy uses blood or urine samples to detect a hormone known as BhCG, found exclusively in pregnant women. Later, prenatal diagnostic tests such as alpha fetoprotein, amniocentesis, and chorionic villus sampling may be performed as screening measures for congenital defects. Ultrasound, a sonar device using high-frequency wavelengths, is used to detect defects, measure fetal heartbeat, and monitor growth of a fetus.

Complications of pregnancy include eclampsia, premature birth, and erythroblastosis fetalis (Rh incompatibility). Ectopic pregnancy, in which the fetus begins to develop outside the uterus, often in a fallopian tube, is another complication. It is often the result of scarring from a sexually transmitted disease. Smoking has been linked to low–birth weight infants; alcohol consumption during pregnancy has been linked to a group of defects called fetal alcohol syndrome.

The technology relating to pregnancy has made great advances and has created a number of ethical issues. Many women in their 40s are now able to sustain successful pregnancies, due to technological devices that carefully monitor the progress of the fetus. In vitro fertilization and other infertility treatments have allowed even postmenopausal women to give birth. The use of fertility drugs has led to a marked increase in multiple births. Abortion, in which pregnancy is terminated prior to birth, has long been a subject of heated debate, and surrogate motherhood (see surrogate mother) has also raised ethical issues in recent years.

See also amenorrhea; birth defects; midwifery.


See J. T. Queenan and C. N. Queenan, ed. A New Life (1992); C. A. Bean, Methods of Childbirth (1990);; Boston Women's Health Book Collective, Our Bodies, Ourselves for the New Century (1998).

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The state of being pregnant, from conception to childbirth.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


If you are afraid of being pregnant, you may dream of it often. At times, women learn about their pregnancy in their dreams. Your mind knows about everything that is going on in your body even if you are not consciously aware of it. However, don’t panic! You could also be pregnant with ideas! Old dream interpretation books say that a dream about pregnancy is a good omen for women, and an improvement in her intimate relationship is forthcoming. For a man, it is a warning against casual sex.
Bedside Dream Dictionary by Silvana Amar Copyright © 2007 by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
In our study, clinical pregnancy occurred in 17 patients in Group A with high grade vascularity with a clinical pregnancy rate of 21% whereas 4 cases had a clinical pregnancy in Group B with medium grade vascularity with a clinical pregnancy rate of 6.6%.
It was also observed that blastocysts with an A-grade ICM yielded a clinical pregnancy and live-birth rate that was significantly higher than that achieved using blastocysts with a C-grade ICM (61.3% vs.
All the expecting women delivered at term gestation without any miscarriage or significant complications during pregnancy, with LBR being similar to the clinical pregnancy rate.
Interestingly, overweight (r=0.794; p=0.001) and underweight (r=0.841; p=0.001) group, that reported highest clinical pregnancy were found to have better correlation among the two hormones as compared to normal weight group (r=0.233; p=0.166) and obese (r=0.082; p=0.538).
The results of the present study are also in line with these data, revealing clinical pregnancy rates of 82.2%, 81% and 68.4% in patients with the indications of unexplained infertility, male infertility and diminished ovarian reserve.
We observed significant declines in adjusted means from the lowest to highest quartile of RPFR for the proportion of cycles resulting in successful fertilization (10% decrease, p-trend = 0.04), implantation (31%, p-trend = 0.02), clinical pregnancy (41%, p-trend = 0.004) and live birth (38%, p-trend = 0.05), adjusted for age, BMI, race/ethnicity, year of cycle, and infertility diagnosis (Figure 2, Tables 3 and 4).
In addition, cabergoline reduces the occurrence of moderate-severe OHSS with no relevant negative effects on the number of retrieved oocytes or implantation rates and clinical pregnancy, without deleterious impact on pregnancy outcome (47,48).
illustrated a borderline significant difference of 5% higher clinical pregnancy rate in women stimulated with hFSH compared with rFSH.
Also, Barad and colleagues [23] investigated whether GCSF affects endometrial thickness, implantation rates, and clinical pregnancy rates in routine, unselected IVF cycles.
Higher clinical pregnancy rates were achieved with the combination of r-hFSH and r-hLH versus r-hFSH alone in the overall population analyzed (risk ratio [RR]: 1.09; 95% CI: 1.01 to 1.18; intention-to-treat [ITT] population).
Chetan and Dada drew attention to the importance of male factors in the success of implantation and in the clinical pregnancy rate [1], especially the paternal effect of sperm DNA damage in the stages of embryonic development, and also criticized the fact that the male factors have not been studied in this study.

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